The first couple days that we spent on Oahu were a whirlwind of finding our way around, adjusting to Curtis’ new job, and making one of our biggest decisions as a couple: picking out our first home. We looked at so many places in our first 4 days here and learned so much about everything pertaining to home buying, all while adapting to island living and adjusting to jet lag. We made our decision completely based off of what we learned from the market and what we thought would be the best investment — but I can honestly say that it was the best decision we could have made for our family. I can’t even imagine us in any other place, or on any other part of the island. Our house is my favorite part of living here — our own little slice of paradise. I feel safe and comfortable when I’m home alone. We feel cozy and content when we’re together. The house is small and dated, but it has everything we need. We don’t feel an ounce of regret, and when I drive around other cities and look at other houses I constantly think to myself, “I can’t believe we found this place.”
It wasn’t until we hosted family visiting from the mainland that I realized exactly how different my everyday life is. It sounds silly to say that, because living here is nothing like anywhere I’ve lived in my life, but I guess I adapted to this lifestyle so quickly that I hardly think twice about it anymore. Today I’m going to try to capture exactly what our new normal is — something that I haven’t ever thought to write down because I don’t feel the need to put it into words, I just simply live it.
The day we moved in, and Charlotte just knew she was home.
We live in a 600 square foot Hawaiian plantation style home. The smallest space we’ve ever occupied, but we’ve learned that it’s plenty of space for a married couple and their basset child. We left some things in storage on the mainland, other things with family, and downsized when we moved in, and will continue to downsize and live minimally. We have a few deep closets with shelving that has been a lifesaver, but other than that there’s no room for storage. No basement, no garage, no carport, no shed. And I am being completely honest when I say we have no problem with this. We’re embracing our simple, minimal lifestyle, and hopefully will carry it on with us wherever else we live, even if we can afford a bigger place.
Houses here are single-wall construction. Some days when the trade winds start to pick up, I start to wonder just how safe it is. I try to convince myself it’s fine, this house has stood for over 50 years, why would it collapse now? We wanted to decorate our walls with pictures, but realized that pounding nails and screws into these walls may not be the best idea. We use velcro tape as much as possible.
The windows are open 24/7/365. We have no heat or air conditioning. On hot and humid days, it’s hot and humid inside. On “colder” days, it’s “cold” inside. I only look at the weather forecast when I’m thinking about hiking or driving to another side of the island (and it’s usually wrong…just saying). I couldn’t tell you exactly what our highest and lowest temps have been, but it’s always above 60 and below 90. On the cold and rainy days, I get use out of the sweaters I brought, and work while drinking hot chocolate and cuddling with Charlotte on the couch. On the humid days, we drink cold smoothies and enjoy the sunshine. There are at least 2 windows in every room, bringing in plenty of light and fresh air.
Our kitchen is very small — I love cooking, baking, everything food prep, and never thought I could adapt to such a small space. But somehow it works — with the help of Curtis’ table for extra counter space, of course! We don’t have a microwave, a dishwasher, or a garbage disposal, but we really don’t need any of those. The less you have, the less that can break down and need fixing or a replacement! The washing machine is outside, and we have only a solar powered dryer, also known as a clothing line. It works great, as long as there’s sun, so sometimes I just can’t do laundry because it’s raining. Bummer. 😉
I can see the mountain on the left from my kitchen window, and this view is just a short walk away.
I can see the mountains from my kitchen windows. Lately it’s been rare to see the whole ridge without clouds obstructing the view, so when I can see the peaks in the sunlight I start getting antsy. I honestly never get bored when I’m home alone and Curtis is at work, but for the first time I’m starting to think about going out and hiking by myself. It’s just too beautiful to stay in some days! Thankfully I can get some pretty good views when I take Charlotte for walks, and about once a week I take Curtis to work so that I can have a car and just do something, even if it means a simple walk on the beach or doing a familiar hike for the sixth time.
I think Charlotte is a fan of this place too. She has her favorite spots picked out inside — either sitting next to me on the futon, in her bean bag, or perched on the table where she can look out the windows. We have a small yard for her to wander around, and an extended rope so I don’t have to supervise her the whole time. She loves to sunbathe, people watch, and most of all, chase lizards all around. She has very little success in catching them, but that’s never stopped her from trying.
Blooms on MY hibiscus bush!
The only thing that I actually despise about this place: A neighbor nearby has “tamed” one of the pigeons, so it will come down and land on people’s heads while they walk to get the mail or take the trash to the curb. They named him “Julio.” So far I have avoided having Julio land on my head by either running or waving my arms and screaming. Quite a sight for all bystanders I’m sure…but back me up here: pigeons = rats with wings. Disgusting! I don’t mind the wild chickens so much, except for the rooster that used to start crowing every morning around 3:30… but thanks to our neighbor’s dog that problem has been eliminated. 🙂
There’s probably a lot more that I’m forgetting about, but I’m sure I’ll write more about our life on Oahu in the future. The reality of living here is that 50% of the time I’m missing the mainland and family and friends there, and the other 50% I’m trying to take advantage of every moment on this island because it’s highly unlikely that this will always be my reality. I’m thankful for the times when I’m able to get out, either with or without Curtis, and enjoy this gorgeous island. And I’m especially grateful for the people here, and the ones that have visited us, that have reminded me what a special and unique experience it is to be here.